John Lewis Partnership’s Dame Sharon White is the only person with links to jewellery retail on a new Business Council set up by Boris Johnson to unlock investment and boost job creation.

30 high-profile executives make up the ‘Build Back Better Council’, which met virtually for the first time yesterday.

It includes the bosses of organisations such as BT, British Airways and HSBC, but the John Lewis Partnership chair is the only individual with ties to the jewellery sector.


White stepped down from her role as chief executive of Ofcom at the end of 2019 and took up the role at John Lewis, leaving the civil service behind.

The council will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister and Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as a standing member, and other cabinet ministers attending as required.

At yesterday’s meeting, the Prime Minister updated the council members on the vaccine roll-out and reiterated the need to look ahead to the UK’s economic recovery.

He outlined the need to seize opportunities of Brexit, support job creation, cement the UK’s position as a science superpower, deliver an upgrade to infrastructure and launch a green industrial revolution.

The Chancellor laid out the three key pillars of the government’s plan to drive growth beyond the pandemic: investing in infrastructure, skills and innovation.

He set out that improved infrastructure leads to improved productivity, skills are the single best way to drive human productivity and key in addressing regional disparity, and investment in innovation is critical to deliver new growth, ideas and services.

The Council discussed the government’s plan and offered their individual perspectives on the best ways to promote economic recovery and growth going forwards.

The council agreed to continue to provide feedback on the proposal in the coming months and consider the role that businesses can play.

Full list of Council members

Isabel Dedring, Arup

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty

Stephen Welton, BGF

Rachel Lord, Blackrock

Bernard Looney, BP

Sean Doyle, British Airways

Philip Jansen, BT

Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace

Penny James, Direct Line

Ronan Harris, Google

Emma Walmsley, GSK

Lord Deighton, Heathrow

Mark Tucker, HSBC

Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV

Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar Land Rover

Dame Sharon White, John Lewis Partnership

Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey

Cressida Hogg, Landsec

Nigel Wilson, Legal & General

Vivian Hunt, McKinsey & the CBI

Ron Kalifa, Network International

Karen Jones, Prezzo

Laxman Narasimhan, Reckitt Benckiser

Liv Garfield, Severn Trent

Carl Ennis, Siemens

Martin Murphy, Syncona

Ken Murphy, Tesco

Alan Jope, Unilever

Charlotte Hogg, Visa

Sir Ian Wood, Wood